ACC.16 recap: The Melting Pot of Tradition, Innovation and International Cardiology

May 12, 2016 | Monica Verdoia, MD

Wind of innovation and international cardiology was blowing during the first weekend of April in Chicago, where ACC’s 65th Annual Scientific Session took place. Innovation in terms of the changeover of ACC’s leadership, with Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, succeeding Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, MACC, in the role of president of the College, but also innovation in terms of new scientific discoveries, with the presentation of late breaking trials and drugs newly released on the cardiovascular market. 

However, the youngest generations of cardiologists can carry the greatest potential for innovation: a fact that the ACC.16 organizers seem to have well-remembered, providing plenty of dedicated educational sections and “meet the expert” debates, for those seeking advice for their career. FITs certainly did not let expectations down, demonstrating active participation and strong motivations in the interactive sections.

A unique event, which would probably be very appreciated at congresses in European countries, was the Battle of the State Chapters FIT Jeopardy Competition, where ACC’s Illinois Chapter team won the final round. Another display of the abilities of FIT attendees was the presentation of the best research works within the four sessions of the Young Investigator Award Competition.

It is common belief that in the U.S. you can always find the hottest deals in scientific and technological innovation: this open-minded attitude allows attendees to absorb all of the advances available in the international field, as in the case of guidelines for the optimal duration of dual antiplatelet therapy, incorporating the recent suggestions of the European Society of Cardiology.

Although unexpected but definitely delightful was the experience of receiving an honorable mention for my research: me coming from a small Italian university, competing with organizations whose huge historical scientific background is well-known. To be acknowledged by the ACC and participate in the final ceremony with the most eminent pillars of in cardiology was unforgettable.

It was also a surprise to notice the contrast between the strong thrust for innovation of the daily sections of the congress and the bond with tradition of the ceremonial, with gowned actors rehearsing the same protocol across decades of years.

I think that no one can get out untouched from such an experience. I think that this experience can have an impact on all attendees, reinforcing, in passionate researchers, the motivation for strengthening research efforts but also raising new interest among those who may feel unsuitable for scientific investigations. Certainly, the words of ACC President Richard A. Chazal, MD, FACC, will continue to resound in our ears, inviting each of the attendees, and especially the younger clinicians, to improve their everyday clinical practice and become better cardiologists.

This article was authored by Monica Verdoia, MD, a fellow in training (FIT) at L'Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria "Maggiore della Carità", Università del Piemonte Orientale, in Italy.